[Osmf-talk] my views on the ODbL

Ulf Möller um at ulfm.de
Thu Dec 3 21:25:32 UTC 2009

Mike Collinson schrieb:

 > Discussion has picked up again on this list so each License Working 
Group member will respond individually with their own personal views.

My view is that the ODbL is a good license, but I do have reservations 
about the license change process.

CC-BY-SA doesn't really work for geodata, and it's not clear what its 
attribution clause means for mass collaboration projects like ours. Plus 
there is a disturbing new trend of individual mappers sending nasty 
letters to suspected license violators.

We would not have those problems with the ODbL (nor, in fact, with PD).

The LWG, the foundation's lawyer and members of the legal-talk list have 
put a lot of effort into making sure that the license works. There also 
are reviews by several independent lawyers. For that reason I don't see 
its complexity as a problem.

However, one important limitation of the ODbL is that we cannot accept 
CC-licensed data, nor ODbL-licensed data, from other projects. That also 
means there will be no two-way exchange with Wikipedia's Geo project.

My main concern is that a license change can be a big risk for a 
project. If we change the license, we will have to expect to loose a 
significant amount of data. In the past, some open projects have even 
been forked due to license change attemps (XFree86 being a notable 
example). For that reason I don't think it is good for the Foundation to 
decide on a new license and require the larger community to simply 
accept that decision.

I think we should give the mappers a real choice.

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